• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Trends over time
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Health systems
  • Actions
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Obesity prevalence

Women, 2018

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6088
Area covered:National
References:Deomgraphic Health Survey, Cameroon, 2018 (in french)
Notes:Includes ever married women age 15-49 years
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6980
References:Institut National de la Statistique (INS) et ICF. International. 2012. Enquête Démographique et de Santé et à Indicateurs Multiples du Cameroun 2011. Calverton, Maryland, USA : INS et ICF International.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:704
Area covered:National
References:Engle-Stone R, Nankap, M Ndjebayi, AO, Friedman A, Tarini A, Brown KH, Kaiser L. 2018. Prevalence and predictors of overweight and obesity among Cameroonian women in a national survey and relationships with waist circumference and inflammation in Yaoundé and Douala. Maternal and child nutrition. 14(4) doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12648
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2004

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:4491
Area covered:National
References:DHS 2004
Notes:Other married women 15 - 49 years
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2003

Survey type:Measured
Age:15+
Sample size:9454
Area covered:Regional
References:Kamadjeu RM, Edwards R, Atanga JS, Kiawi EC, Unwin N and Mbanya JC. (2006). Anthropometry measures and prevalence of obesity in the urban adult population of Cameroon: an update from the Cameroon Burden of Diabetes Baseline Survey. BMC Public Health, 6: 288 - 395.
Notes:4 urban districts = Yaoundé, Douala, Garoua and Bamenda
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 1998

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:1658
References:SCN (2004). 5th Report on the World Nutrition Situation. Nutrition for Improved Development Outcomes. Appendix 11
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2013

Survey type:Measured
Age:3-13
Sample size:1343
Area covered:Regional
References:Choukem S-P, Kamdeu-Chedeu J, Leary SD, et al. Overweight and obesity in children aged 3–13 years in urban Cameroon: a cross-sectional study of prevalence and association with socio-economic status. BMC obesity. 2017;4:7. doi:10.1186/s40608-017-0146-4.
Notes:Urban only with a focus on socioeconomic groups, see paper for survey design
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by education

Women, 2018

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6088
References:Institut National de la Statistique (INS) et ICF. 2020. Enquête Démographique et de Santé du Cameroun 2018. Yaoundé, Cameroun et Rockville, Maryland, USA : INS et ICF.
Notes:Ever married women aged 15-49 years
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6980
References:Institut National de la Statistique (INS) et ICF. International. 2012. Enquête Démographique et de Santé et à Indicateurs Multiples du Cameroun 2011. Calverton, Maryland, USA : INS et ICF International.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by age

Women, 2018

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:6088
References:Institut National de la Statistique (INS) et ICF. 2020. Enquête Démographique et de Santé du Cameroun 2018. Yaoundé, Cameroun et Rockville, Maryland, USA : INS et ICF.
Notes:Ever married women aged 15-49 years
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:6980
References:Institut National de la Statistique (INS) et ICF. International. 2012. Enquête Démographique et de Santé et à Indicateurs Multiples du Cameroun 2011. Calverton, Maryland, USA : INS et ICF International.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2013

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:1343
Area covered:Subnational
References:Choukem et al. 2017. Overweight and obesity in children aged 3-13 years in urban Cameroon: a cross-sectional study of prevalence and association with socio-economic status. BMC Obes. 4(7). doi: 10.1186/s40608-017-0146-4.
Notes:WHO cut-offs used
Cutoffs:WHO

Overweight/obesity by region

Women, 2018

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6088
References:Institut National de la Statistique (INS) et ICF. 2020. Enquête Démographique et de Santé du Cameroun 2018. Yaoundé, Cameroun et Rockville, Maryland, USA : INS et ICF.
Notes:Ever married women aged 15-49 years
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6980
References:Institut National de la Statistique (INS) et ICF. International. 2012. Enquête Démographique et de Santé et à Indicateurs Multiples du Cameroun 2011. Calverton, Maryland, USA : INS et ICF International.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2009

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:504
Area covered:National
References:Engle-Stone R, Nankap, M Ndjebayi, AO, Friedman A, Tarini A, Brown KH, Kaiser L. 2018. Prevalence and predictors of overweight and obesity among Cameroonian women in a national survey and relationships with waist circumference and inflammation in Yaoundé and Douala. Maternal and child nutrition. 14(4) doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12648
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by socio-economic group

Women, 2018

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6088
References:Institut National de la Statistique (INS) et ICF. 2020. Enquête Démographique et de Santé du Cameroun 2018. Yaoundé, Cameroun et Rockville, Maryland, USA : INS et ICF.
Notes:Ever married women aged 15-49 years
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:15-49
Sample size:6980
References:Institut National de la Statistique (INS) et ICF. International. 2012. Enquête Démographique et de Santé et à Indicateurs Multiples du Cameroun 2011. Calverton, Maryland, USA : INS et ICF International.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2013

Survey type:Measured
Age:3-13
Sample size:1343
Area covered:Urban only
References:Choukem S-P, Kamdeu-Chedeu J, Leary SD, et al. Overweight and obesity in children aged 3–13 years in urban Cameroon: a cross-sectional study of prevalence and association with socio-economic status. BMC obesity. 2017;4:7. doi:10.1186/s40608-017-0146-4.
Notes:Urban only HSES/LSES High/Low Socio Economic Status
Cutoffs:Other

Insufficient physical activity

Adults, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Men, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Women, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Estimated per-capita fruit intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita fruit intake (g/day)

Estimated per-capita processed meat intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita processed meat intake (g per day)

Estimated per-capita whole grains intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita whole grains intake (g/day)

Mental health - depression disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with depression disorders

Mental health - anxiety disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with anxiety disorders

Oesophageal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Breast cancer

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, breast, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Colorectal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Pancreatic cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Gallbladder cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Kidney cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Cancer of the uterus

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, cervix uteri, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Raised blood pressure

Adults, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Men, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Women, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Raised cholesterol

Adults, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Men, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Women, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Raised fasting blood glucose

Men, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Women, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Diabetes prevalence

Adults, 2017

References:Reproduced with kind permission of IDF, International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative prevalence (%).

Health systems

Economic classification: Lower Middle Income

Health systems summary

Cameroon aspires to achieve universal health coverage by 2035. Currently, however, only 6.4% of the population is covered by a community health insurance scheme and the burden of healthcare financing is on households. It is estimated that households contribute 70% of total health expenditure and 64% of households do not have access to healthcare because of high costs. There are limited public resources allocated to health leaving the public health sector not fit for purpose despite providing the majority of healthcare. The private sector in Cameroon includes non-profit religious associations, NGOs and for-profit providers. Traditional medicine is an additional – but unregulated – sector.

The Cameroonian health system faces several challenges, including but not limited to; corruption, a shortage in health professionals and outdated equipment. Cameroon’s epidemiological profile is still dominated by communicable diseases such as malaria, TB and HIV/AIDs and so non-communicable diseases are not prioritised by the government or policymakers.

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?No
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?No
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?No
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?No
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?No
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in rural areas?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?No
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Out of pocket

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • High cost of out of pocket payments
  • Lack of political will, interest and action
  • Fragmented or failing health system
  • Lack of support
  • Obesity not considered a disease
  • Poor health literacy and behaviour
  • Lack of treatment facilities
  • Cultural norms and behaviour

Summary of stakeholder feedback

Obesity is not yet considered to be disease in Cameroon and financial investment into obesity by the government is said to be non-existent. Despite prevalence being high (particularly in urban areas), there is little being done around prevention. Stakeholders called for more and better prevention policies, especially those that utilise a “life course approach”. Suggested prevention policies included those around physical activity, healthy eating and taxes on unhealthy foods. It is noted that much of the narrative around obesity is currently linked to diabetes.

It is suggested that healthcare providers only treat obesity when individuals have complications/comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension. Equally, individuals only enter the health system when they have obesity-related health issues. Once in the system, there are limited treatment options and because of the lack of coverage. As a result, obesity treatment tends to be paid for out of pocket.

There are no guidelines for obesity treatment and no specialist obesity training available in Cameroon.

Based on interviews/survey returns from 6 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

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Actions

Health Sector Strategy 2016- 2027

This new strategy aligns with the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP) and with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The evaluation process of the expired 2001-2015 strategy and the development of the new strategy were participatory.

Categories (partial):Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Evidence of NCD strategy
Year(s):2016-2027
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Ministry of Public Health Cameroon
Find out more:www.minsante.cm
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Health Sector Strategy 2016 - 2027 | MINSANTE [Internet]. Minsante.cm. 2016c [cited 2020 Jul 21]. Available from: https://www.minsante.cm/site/?q=en/content/health-sector-strategy-2016-2027-0

National Health Development Plan

2016-2020 NHDP focuses primarily on the strengthening of the health system and governance; maternal, newborn, and child health; management of medical and surgical emergencies and public health events; and disease prevention.

Categories:Evidence of NCD strategy
Year(s):2016-2020
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Ministry of Public Health Cameroon
Find out more:www.minsante.cm
Linked document:Download linked document
References:National Health Development Plan [Internet]. 2016c. Available from: https://www.minsante.cm/site/sites/default/files/National%20Health%20Development%20Plan%202016-2020.Cameroon..pdf

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